The other day, I overheard someone saying that nowhere in history (perhaps the only exception being the French fashion industry) has an industry witnessed such a rapid pace of growth as the Indian IT industry. When annual growth figures are upwards of 30% for well over a decade, you realise that it can’t be far from the truth. In this light, it is also interesting to note the changing role of the association which has primarily driven this growth. 20 years back when NASSCOM started its journey, the industry was nowhere close to what it is now. IT was not the “blue eyed boy” of the government and the need of the hour was to create an environment which fostered growth and create a level playing field. The association’s role in policy advocacy has been its pillar and continues to be so even today.
The last decade (1998 – 2008) saw a spurt in growth, beyond imagination. A 2 Bn US$ industry has grown to a behemoth, boasting of 52 Bn US$ or thereabouts. The quintessential IT professional from India is amongst the most sought after professionals today, even as we see phrases like “Bangalored” enter the lexicon. The industry has become synonymous with constant change. Success or lack of it, is largely defined by one’s ability to manage this ever-shifting change. Y2K, dot com bubble and the likes created millionaires overnight, as the wheel of fortune turned for these young professionals. India has experienced a revolutionary change in urban lifestyles, not seen before. The knowledge worker, now rechristened, is defining the new order of things. However, there is a downside to this, as the digital divide created a certain amount of resentment amongst the less fortunate. The BPO sector was targeted on issues, which were really beyond its control and NASSCOM has worked relentlessly towards changing this mindset. If the last decade was about the government, then this one is about Education – bridging the gap and taking the society along. Inclusivity is not something which we are aware of only now, but right from the very beginning. In an industry which has always regarded intellectual capital as its most valuable asset, it mattered not, what your background was – but rather what you brought to the table in terms of expertise and skill. Only now this prevalent thought is getting a certain direction as definitive steps are being taken to make it a business imperative. Over the years as the industry matured, the focus has shifted beyond IT and embraces broader issues like CSR, where NASSCOM Foundation, has played an instrumental role.
Over the years, and spanning nearly two decades, The Leadership Forum, has been the ubiquitous platform which has showcased the changing dynamics of the IT industry. The emergence of SMEs, increased role of captives, new emerging markets and verticals…the list is goes on. If last year it was about combating the recession, then this year it is about looking ahead. As the industry acts on change, the association too has responded admirably and worked towards creating the necessary impact amongst stakeholders. This year too at NILF, we would see a confluence of some of the sharpest minds and provide an opportunity to interact with people who are making a difference.
If you have been attending the NILF in the past, then please do share your experiences on how this conference has been able to create an impact and also influence the thought process. In case your registration is still pending this year, then do register online
It’s an opportunity to be there and find out what rest of the world is thinking.